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3 up, 3 down: No. 9 FSU baseball’s pitching leads way to win over FAU

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Owls produce just one hit against three Florida State pitchers.

NCAA Baseball: College World Series-Florida State vs Michigan Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

FSU got off to a quick start in their final non-conference weekend with a 5-1 victory over FAU. The Seminoles’ pitching staff carried the team to a victory, once again, giving up just one run one one hit. FSU also struck out 12 batters. The Seminoles will face FAU and Texas Tech in a doubleheader tomorrow. FSU has now won seven straight games.

Three up:

  • CJ Van Eyk had a stellar start for the ‘Noles. Van Eyk went six innings, allowing just one hit and one run, while striking out eight. The junior got into trouble with command issues, but was able to work around it with his elite arsenal. FAU rarely made hard contact, as he mixed all four pitches. Despite having a 98-MPH fastball in the tank, CJ did most of his damage with the off-speed. He has the rare ability to miss bats with four different pitches. Most importantly, Van Eyk got through six innings, helping spare the bullpen heading into the busy weekend:

Chase Haney and Antonio Velez combined to close the game out with three scoreless innings, not allowing any hits or walks, while striking out four.

  • FSU’s infield defense had been atrocious to start the season, leading to some changes with Nander De Sedas and Jackson Greene swapping positions. De Sedas looked much more comfortable at second, as he didn’t have any bobbles or errant throws. The pair teamed up to turn an inning-ending double play in the first inning on a quick turn. First baseman Dylan Simmons ended the third inning after snagging a hard hit grounder to get out of a jam. Third baseman Carter Smith made an error on the night, but also took away a hit, charging in on a bunt and making a perfect throw. It still wasn’t a perfect night for FSU, but it was a step in the right direction:
  • At the plate, Mat Nelson had himself quite the night. After entering the game with a .190 average, the sophomore went 2-3 with a double, a walk, a HBP, and two RBI. It would’ve been a three-RBI night for the catcher, but Tyler Martin was gunned down at the plate on his double in the 3rd inning. Nelson extended the FSU lead to four in the sixth inning with a two-out, two-RBI single:

Three down:

  • Despite a stellar outing, Van Eyk struggled with his command for the second straight start. After walking four batters last week, the junior walked five and hit another Owl. He threw 58.7% strikes on the night. He worked around it, but FSU’s ace will have to get those numbers down as the Seminoles enter conference play. If he can consistently find the zone, he’ll give the ’Noles more and more innings, while raising his draft stock.
  • So far this season, FSU’s infielders and catchers have struggled with foul balls in foul territory. Tonight was at least the fifth time the Seminoles botched a foul pop-up. Tonight, the miscue caught up to the Seminoles. In the third inning, Nelson overran a pop-up, which led to a walk for Nicholas Toney. Toney later came around to score the Owls’ only run of the night. Despite not going in the book as an error (or unearned run), this should be a routine play. The sophomore also had two passed balls on the night, but made up for it with his hitting, which good players do.
  • Outside of Nelson, FSU didn’t swing the bats well against the Owls’ pitching staff. FSU was just 4-24 at the plate and 2-8 with runners in scoring position. The ’Noles got most of their runs handed to them (eight walks and five hit batters). When FSU starts to face better staffs (Texas Tech tomorrow night), the Seminoles need to produce hits in order to generate runs.

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